The Instigator
WOLF.J
Con (against)
The Contender
purpleduck
Pro (for)

A Conversation w/ an Atheist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/8/2018 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 382 times Debate No: 107709
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (0)

 

WOLF.J

Con

Rules - This is not a debate, its a conversation, i will simply be having a discussion w/ an atheist Pro, il remain impartial n unbiased throughout. You can vote Pro at the end if you feel they conducted themselves professionally well. R1 just acceptance .

The reason I want to debate this is bc allow i believe in god, i do show contempt towards him, so im at a crossroads and would like more info about why atheists are atheists.

Note that Pro can't use the we can't see god argument, bc its like the falling tree in the woods dilemma.

Conversly, if a religious ddo user wants a conversation about god , feel free to set me a request .
purpleduck

Pro

Just as I note, my worldview as an atheist does not necessarily reflect the worldview of other atheists, so know that what I say about this topic isn't necessarily identical to what other atheists might say.

The reason why I do no believe in a god is simply because I haven't found any evidence for one (or many). There is not much more to say after this, for it is logically impossible to prove a negative; just as I cannot demonstrate that a unicorn does not exist or produce evidence that you cannot run at a speed of 100 mph, I cannot prove the nonexistence of a god.

Perhaps this answer is unsatisfying.

I must acknowledge that there is a possibility that a god is real. This possibility, however, is not particularly meaningful, as there is an equal possibility that Superman is real; there exists empirical evidence for neither. But since many people, now and throughout history, have argued in favor of a god or multiple gods, the next best thing when disputing religion is to address these arguments.

I do not know what Sikhism teaches, but the following addresses points that I have found to be characteristic of most modern religions. If I get something wrong, feel free to correct me.

Most modern religions establish an objective moral code to abide by, supposedly written by the deity or founder of that religion (10 Commandments, Five Pillars, Five Precepts, etc.). A common argument in favor of a god/gods is: "If there is an objective moral code, there must be a god/gods to write one/ There is an objective moral code/ Therefore there must be a god/gods." I dispute this by asserting that there is no objective morality, that all morality is inherently subjective. Obviously one could respond by saying that many things that are generally seen as immoral such as, murder, theft, deception, etc. but unfortunately life is rarely so simple. Every action has context that speaks to the morality of said action, and even with context there will never be a universal agreement of its morality.
Let's use the classic trolley dilemma to explain this concept. If you don't know what the trolley dilemma is, imagine you are at a train station and there is a train barreling across the railway track towards a group of 5 people tied to the tracks. You have a lever that could divert the train away from the 5 people and onto an alternate track that has one person tied to it. What do you choose to do?
One could very easily argue that diverting the train towards the one person is murder, and lets say that it is. But was this murder immoral? Depends on who you ask.

There are many moral thought exercises similar to this; you probably know about this one already, but we can go over others if you want.

Another common argument in favor of a god/gods is the concept of free will; it is asserted that because we are aware of and can deliberate on our actions, we therefore must have a free will which was divinely bestowed upon us (this is a primarily Abrahamic world view, I have not heard or read this out of other religions). I personally do not believe in free will, but this argument is problematic even if you assume that it does. The ability to deliberate on ourselves and our actions, or self awareness, is something that is not unique to humans and is something we share with magpies, bottlenose dolphins, chimpanzees, and elephants (as well as a few others), suggesting that self awareness is something that can be evolved. Furthermore, there is evidence that babies less than a year old lack self awareness and an overall sense of self, implying that self awareness is part of early cognitive development and is thus tied directly to the brain, and not some higher power or soul. It has not yet been determined exactly what part of the brain is primarily responsible for self awareness; it has been suggested that interoception, or senses that are stimulated from within the body, and therefore the greater limbic system (basic emotions and desires) may be related, but it is hard to say for sure.

These are the main reasons why I am an atheist. Of course there other smaller reasons, but I don't want to write too much on the off chance I don't actually address any of your concerns. Hopefully I did though, and I look forward to answering your questions.
Debate Round No. 1
WOLF.J

Con

You have made some interesting points, I definitely agree that life is not simple, and that morality and free will are perception based illusions to protect our thought process from the unknown. However, some may argue that so called unknown is god, protecting us, Sikhism itself is about becoming a more charitable, egoless man. However I feel its been tainted by corruption as many Sikhs themselves are boastful and ego prone.

Having read your comments I would now like to ask you where you draw the line between doing good for yourself, and doing good for others?, including addressing personality traits such as being charitable, honest, and humble- for those are typically the 3 main requirements a religious man requires. IE demonstrate that you can have those characteristics w/out the need of religion.

I certainly know some people outright are proud to lie, esp. my parents, some people on here even state that it has evolutionary benefits, eg white lies, but again there is a so called line.


After that we will go on to talk about your thoughts on evolution, for its one of most backed theories amongst non-belief, and most hated theories amongst religious folk, vice versa for creationism, I mean when I always debate on this topic I bring up the indirect correlation between education and belief in god, however I do realise science and the education system is subject to corruption, just like the religious industry. Anyways since I should be unbias, where do you relate to these two aspects I've highlighted...?
purpleduck

Pro

Sikhism itself is about becoming a more charitable, egoless man. However I feel its been tainted by corruption as many Sikhs themselves are boastful and ego prone.

It is unfortunate that you feel this way. Know that, however, atheist are not inherently better moral people than the Sikhs you mention; we are all human after all. But if you personally wish to strive to be a more selfless and charitable person, you do not need Sikhism, or in fact, any religion at all, to do this. Faith is not required to be a moral person. If you wish to continue to follow Sikhism, I would advise you do so because you sincerely believe in its religious aspects and not just it's moral code, as you do not need divine guidance to follow a moral code. Moreover, if you actually truly believe and follow the religious aspects of Sikhism, then you should not concern yourself with other Sikhs who are "doing it wrong", as religion is not technically defined by its followers but by its original religious texts. You can also seek to help them "get back on the right path", so to speak, if you wish.

Having read your comments I would now like to ask you where you draw the line between doing good for yourself, and doing good for others?, including addressing personality traits such as being charitable, honest, and humble

My personal philosophy is that you should prioritize your own needs over others. There is actually a passage in the Bible (Timothy 4:16) that roughly says "By helping yourself, you may help others". Timothy was really more referring to finding faith and then helping others find faith, but passage by itself still kind of works here. Charity, in my own opinion, is a rich man's luxury; it is a lot easier for those who have already found success to share their success, and those who share success without already having it risk losing it. This actually happened to me at one point when both a friend and I joined the same art contest, during which I helped him improve his drawing. He ended up winning first place and I won second. This kind of thing also happens a lot in college, especially in medical school, where students are reluctant to help each other as doing so is helping the competition. So at the end of the day, I try to put my own interests first over the interests of others, lest I end up screwing myself over.

In terms of being honest and humble, I try to follow these values as much as possible. Of course, I don't think it's possible for anyone to really be honest and humble 100% of the time, but these are good things to at least try to be. One does not need religion to be honest and humble either, as I explained in the first paragraph. Many atheists will often say something to the effect of "It is worrying if people need religion to justify being good", and while I don't really agree with this as I don't believe that belief in a god/gods is necessarily unhealthy, I think it's implication is useful here.

Evolution is unfortunately in direct contradiction to all religions that I personally know of; most religion's creation stories involve the universe largely being centered around humans or humans (and most animals) directly being created in their current form. This is true for the Abrahamic, Greek/Roman, Incan, Sumerian, and Hindu religions, where incidentally, in all cases, man was created using some sort of dirt or clay. Based on my cursory research, Sikhism's creation story also involves God creating man in its current form, so if you personally think evolution is true, know that it and the Sikh creation story cannot both be correct.

In terms of science being corruptible, this is not actually possible, as science, unlike religion, does not require people to function. Scientists are corruptible, but because in science there are no authorities, anyone can do science if they so wish, and their word will not have much less authority than an established scientist's as long as they can justify themselves. This is why scientific understanding is constantly changing; one scientist discovers and establishes one thing, and another scientist comes in a few (or many) years later and explains why that scientist is wrong. Think Pasteur, Galileo, Bohr, etc. You do see something similar in religion, such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, Abu Bakr vs Ali, etc., but what you end up with is a bunch of different religious sects instead of a single comprehensive understanding like in science. The point is, science is not really like religion as science as a concept is incorruptible, while religion needs people to exist and thus is very much corruptible.

Hopefully I answered your questions satisfyingly.

Debate Round No. 2
WOLF.J

Con

You've highlighted some great points there, although im not a devote sikh, as mentioned im at a crossroads in life. Ok now I'm not sure what else to discuss , so lets wrap it up. Could now you provide your insights on the afterlife, and add anything else you'd like to share about atheism.
purpleduck

Pro

I'm not entirely sure what you want me to say about the afterlife; my personal belief about it is not particularly interesting, as I just don't think it exists. You're going to have to specify what you want to discuss here.

In terms of atheism as a whole, I would just like to make sure you know that atheism is not an established belief system. There is no blanket moral code or lifestyle you must follow in order to be an atheist; it really is a simple as "Do I believe in God or not?" You probably already understand this, but I just wanted to make sure since you did ask about my view of morality as well as the corruptibility of science, and I just want to establish that none of that really matters here. The only thing that actually matters is whether or not you believe in God, and your answer to that question should be your starting point. I understand you probably just want me to prove that it is possible for one to be both moral and non-religious, and hopefully I convinced you of that.

Since we do have a lot of rounds left, maybe we could discuss something else that's related? I am curious about your own view of religion and how you think it has affected you. I don't know how interested you are in free will, but maybe we could discuss that as well. Anyway, let me know.
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by purpleduck 5 months ago
purpleduck
I mean if you want to sure. Do you want to make it or should I?
Posted by WOLF.J 5 months ago
WOLF.J
I thin we should just abandon this n make a new debate about free will.
I believe in it, but to an extent. ie actions definitely have reactions, but our lives may or may not be predestined to a higher motive.
Posted by WOLF.J 5 months ago
WOLF.J
Ok cool, no problem mate
Posted by purpleduck 5 months ago
purpleduck
Hi, I'm an atheist. I know I could just accept the discussion, but I would like to give you a heads up before I do.
Posted by TheMorningsStar 5 months ago
TheMorningsStar
@Debating_Horse

I would assume that it is because it increases the chance of finding an atheist that actually desires to converse instead of an atheist who has no intention of listening to their perspective?
Posted by Debating_Horse 5 months ago
Debating_Horse
Then why is this in debate format? why not in the forums?
Posted by WOLF.J 5 months ago
WOLF.J
Ok, so personally I come from a sikh family, but if you look at my past debates n bio you'll easily find that i have many personal demons and addictions, n what not. I'm not atheist because i do pray, especially when I'm at my lowest points. However, i do demonstrate contempt at times, and outright believe religion has more cons to pros, eg war. Furthermore, with my dad about to steal millions in online fraud, il happily become a 'sell out' rather than live life trying to find god.

Hence the need to converse with both parties.
Posted by TheMorningsStar 5 months ago
TheMorningsStar
I'm a theist and am mostly interested in what you believe and why, so I will be following this.
Posted by WOLF.J 5 months ago
WOLF.J
Safe
Posted by SupaDudz 5 months ago
SupaDudz
This is what IRL should be like. People sitting down and talking without argument. Why can't our people just do that. Good job mister.

I'm greek orthodox too;3
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